I’ve read two previous Octavia Butler books, and I didn’t like either of them, so I wasn’t too excited about starting the next #CannonBookClub book. But oh, happy day! Now I get it. I thought Kindred was gripping and intense and thoughtful and layered and wicked good.
For the first layer, it’s a time travel story. Dana is randomly pulled back in time to save a young boy who turns out to be her ancestor. She never knows when she’ll be called, or how she’ll get home. If that was all it was, it would still be a fascinating story.
But it’s so much more. Dana is a black woman, and her ancestor is the son of a brutal slaveowner. When she goes back in time, she goes to Rufus’s plantation. People are startled at her speech and her crazy habit of wearing pants, and assume she’s a runaway slave. So THERE’s a layer of complication.
And then, though not much time passes for Dana, years pass for Rufus and his family. So she watches this innocent little boy grow into a racist dickwad, following in his father’s footsteps. Should she save him? Is he worth it? If she doesn’t, does she cease to exist? More layers!
I feel like I’ve already said too much, so I’ll quit spoiling. I haven’t read anybody else’s reviews, because I didn’t want to be spoiled myself. Now I’m going to go read all of them! This is a complex, thought-provoking, harrowing book, and I’m so glad I gave Butler another chance.